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Malta

Social Dialogue (MT0012)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Not Attached

Action Plan Cycle: 2015

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties

Support Institution(s): Malta Council for Economic and Social Development (MCESD)

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, E-Government, Public Participation, Right to Information

IRM Review

IRM Report: Malta End-of-Term Report 2015-2017

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: No

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

The main objective is to improve current public consultation methods in order to encourage more citizens to engage with the government by providing them with a stronger platform where they can voice their opinions and contribute their ideas and opinions. Furthermore, the commitment aims to improve the relationship between civil society and government by ensuring that MCESD is an effective catalyst between the various social partners and the government.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

Commitment 5. Social dialogue

Commitment Text:

The main objective is to improve current public consultation methods in order to encourage more citizens to engage with the government by providing them with a stronger platform where they can voice their opinions and contribute their ideas and opinions. Furthermore, the commitment aims to improve the relationship between civil society and government by ensuring that MCESD is an effective catalyst between the various social partners and the government.

Milestones:

Organise workshops with civil society organisations across Malta to discuss and develop national issues, and further collaboration with NGOs working in different sectors.

Promoting awareness of government portals which encourage citizens to submit their ideas/opinion.

Responsible Institution(s): Ministry for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties

Supporting Institution(s): Malta Council for Economic and Social Development (MCESD)

Start Date: 1 January 2015 End Date: 31 December 2017

Commitment Aim:

This commitment underlines Malta’s attempts at improving access to information, since it relates to a proactive, low-cost and transparent process of information disclosure. The commitment also seeks to strengthen public participation in decision-making procedures by opening up law and policy formation to interested stakeholders.

Status

Midterm: Limited

This commitment had limited completion in the midterm report. Although the Ministry for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties confirmed the organisation of three workshops, the researcher was unable to comment on the content, impact or relevance of these workshops due to the impossibility of tracing the seminar reports. Furthermore, the Ministry did not provide any information on the organisation of the awareness-raising activities foreseen in the third milestone.

End-of-term: Limited

The government provided information on the reform carried out to the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development (MCESD)[Note20: MCESD is an advisory council that issues opinions and recommendations to the Maltese government on matters of economic and social relevance. It is a body consituted by law, through the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development Act, CAP 431 of the Laws of Malta, 2001, http://www.justiceservices.gov.mt/DownloadDocument.aspx?app=lom&itemid=8897&l=1. As noted in the progress report, MCESD is the main forum used by the government for civil society consultation on OGP matters. More information on MCESD can be found on its site, http://www.mcesd.org.mt/home.aspx] whereby—according to the government—the possibility of MCESD to consult with civil society organisations (CSOs) was facilitated.[Note21: The reform was conducted through the adoption on 31 January 2017 of the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development (Amendment) Act, http://www.justiceservices.gov.mt/DownloadDocument.aspx?app=lp&itemid=28266&l=1 ] This structure and operational reform intended widening social dialogue with civil society.[Note22: TVM news, https://www.tvm.com.mt/en/news/mcesd-reform-to-widen-social-dialogue-with-civil-society/] According to the government, the amendments to MCESD’s operations ‘give civil society the opportunity to voice their opinion on a particular subject’. Yet, the researcher was unable to verify the actual impact of the reform on the relationship between civil society and the government, as proposed in the commitment, due to the lack of available information on the reform and the low specificity of the commitment.[Note23: The researcher sent queries to representatives of three CSOs, two being members of MCESD’s Civil Society Committee. One representative commented that he was not present during meetings discussing the legal amendments. Responses from the other two representatives were not received at the time of writing.] In this respect, the researcher notes that the legal amendments and their impact on MCESD operations were discussed by the Civil Society Committee in its meeting of 8 January 2018. Nonetheless, the researcher was not able to establish the relevance of this information to any of the commitment milestones, as meeting notes were not available.

A consultation page for citizens contains a list of all the consultation processes that have been carried out by the government from May 2014 onwards. The list is currently being updated and the IRM researcher could identify consultation processes that occur during the action plan period on different topics and issues of public interest, such as penalty regulations, the protection of the integrity of Maltese sports and energy regulations, among others, listed in http://www.konsultazzjoni.gov.mt. The portal provides information on the actual feedback received for each consultation and also a consultation outcome report. However, this portal was launched in May 2014 so existed prior to the implementation of this action plan.

Moreover, neither the government nor the CSOs provided information on awareness-raising events, impact, and participation in the workshops, and evaluation of such activities. The IRM staff contacted the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics (Faculty of Medicine) and the Centre for Bio-medical Cybernetics (Faculty of Engineering), both mentioned in the government self-assessment report, but received no answer by the time of writing this report.[Note24: Alex Felice, from the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics (Faculty of Medicine) was contacted at the beginning of May via email and phone call. The Centre for Bio-medical Cybernetics (Faculty of Engineering) was contacted at the beginning of May via email and phone call, and Rachel Cassar, from the Junior Chamber International (JCI) was contacted at the beginning of May via email and via website contact form. None of them had replied at the time of writing this report.

] In view of these considerations, this commitment is assessed as having a limited level of completion.

Did It Open Government?

Access to Information: Marginal

Civic Participation: Marginal

The commitment’s broad aim is to improve government’s consultation with the public. At the outset of the national action plan, the government’s consultation plan was already established (2014). Therefore, this commitment does not seek to establish the portal as a tool for consultation with the public, but rather to enhance its effectiveness through the organisation of a series of workshops. As stated in the progress report, the IRM researcher could verify only the organisation of three workshops in October 2015: on the role of civil society in economic and social wellbeing; Gozo in Europe and job opportunities; and the role of volunteering in the Gozo identity. However, the researcher found that the information provided in the consultation portal is currently up to date, with 361 consultations that can be sorted by type of ministry or date. More information on previous consultations has been added since the implementation of this commitment, as well as information documents such as the ‘outcome report’ and ‘feedback received’ files, which include a summary of the comments received from the public and the government response to the comments. The researcher considers this commitment to have marginally improved the government practice of disclosing information and advancing citizen participation in decision making.

Carried Forward?

At the time of writing this report, the next draft action plan was not publicly available. Nonetheless, the researcher recommends its inclusion in the next action plan, with the modifications recommended in the progress report, namely:

· Publish a government-wide public consultation policy that harmonises consultation procedures by establishing details such as minimum consultation timelines, criteria regarding publication of stakeholder feedback, consultation formats, and presentation of consultation findings and outcomes;

· Specify the number of workshops to be organised with CSOs, indicating the procedures to establish their themes, participants, discussions, and follow-up procedures;

· Organise awareness-raising activities targeting marginalised or vulnerable communities that might have little or no internet access, regarding consultation processes and how to effectively engage with them.


Commitments

  1. M-Government

    MT0013, 2018, E-Government

  2. Integration of Maltese Islands

    MT0014, 2018, Capacity Building

  3. Investing in Technology

    MT0015, 2018, Capacity Building

  4. Industrial and Employment Relations Improvements

    MT0016, 2018, Capacity Building

  5. Strengthening Commission for Domestic Violence

    MT0017, 2018, Capacity Building

  6. Participation of Women in the Public Service

    MT0008, 2015, Capacity Building

  7. Public Servant Knowledge Sharing

    MT0009, 2015, Capacity Building

  8. e-Services Online

    MT0010, 2015, E-Government

  9. Public Access to Information

    MT0011, 2015, E-Government

  10. Social Dialogue

    MT0012, 2015, Capacity Building

  11. Having Cleaner Beaches

    MT0001, 2012, Environment and Climate

  12. Construction of Safer Roads

    MT0002, 2012, Infrastructure & Transport

  13. Environment

    MT0003, 2012, Environment and Climate

  14. Transparency in Public Spending

    MT0004, 2012, Oversight of Budget/Fiscal Policies

  15. Taxation and Benefits Abuses

    MT0005, 2012, Oversight of Budget/Fiscal Policies

  16. Procurement

    MT0006, 2012, Open Contracting and Procurement

  17. One-Stop Shop for Citizens

    MT0007, 2012, Public Service Delivery